Thursday, 7 February 2013

Wilshere's England - a force to be reckoned with

International friendly: England 2-1 Brazil

There's a tendency with England to get carried away following an unlikely win or convincing performance, thinking that they just set themselves on course for world domination. This time, however, there may be genuine reason to get excited.

The side that defeated Brazil on Wednesday evening struck a perfect balance of youth and experience, with the last of England's 'golden generation' showing they are not yet looking to retirement. But most promisingly we saw that the young guns were more than ready for the international challenge.

None more so than Jack Wilshere. The Arsenal midfielder was electrifying every time he got on the ball, and is exactly what England needed at Euro 2012. With the qualities Wilshere brings - guts, determination, passion - it is hard to believe that England would have folded in the way they did against Italy, before exiting with a whimper at the first knockout stage. Wilshere wouldn't have allowed it.

Roy Hodgson described what Wilshere brings as "energy, mobility and enthusiasm". He has so many strings to his bow and the superlatives have already come flooding in. Against Brazil he inspired the nation to victory with relentless eagerness. England have missed a player who shows no fear and is willing to take the game to his opponents.

Wilshere is mature beyond his years and this showed in the way he congratulated Wayne Rooney on his opener. Despite being Rooney's junior in terms of experience, Wilshere patted him on the head almost in the way a captain would. With this small gesture he appeared to demonstrate his pleasure at the team for performing to his standard. It was an interesting moment that revealed his natural leadership qualities.

Every team needs a player they can look to for a moment of inspiration. Someone who will not fold no matter what the pressure, a heartbeat that remains constant. At just 21 and in only his seventh match for his country, Wilshere has shown he can be that player.

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